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HCAs at Salisbury hospital to work towards diploma

All new healthcare assistants at a trust in Wiltshire will in future work towards a formal qualification.

Under the changes, trainee nursing assistants at Salisbury Foundation Trust will be working towards a recognised formal Diploma in Health and Social Care.

The minimum period for completion of the course is one year, but it is expected that most will take up to 18 months to complete.

The trust said the move to a structured apprentice model training programme would “enhance their knowledge and skills and give them a formal qualification”.

The change has been made by the trust in response to the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, which was published in February.

It also hopes the move will help improve staff retention rates and help with their future career progression.

Trust director of nursing Tracey Nutter, said: “This move will ensure that new nursing assistants have a more thorough and a rigorous training programme in place, increasing their skills and confidence and providing them with greater career opportunities in the future.

“Following the publication of the Francis Report, all trusts should be looking carefully at their own services to ensure they maintain high standards and that staff have the very best skills and knowledge they need to provide good quality compassionate care for their patents,” she said.

During their training period, HCAs will be paid more than the current national apprenticeship rate but less than an HCA would get if they were working on the wards under supervision.

A trust spokesman said: “The training will be for all new nursing assistants and as trainees we will be paying them under Annexe U of Agenda for Change.”

“The trainees will be paid 70% of the top of band 2 for the first six months and 75% for the subsequent 6-18 months. After they have finished their training they would then go on to band 2.”

Ms Nutter said: “We acknowledge that these new trainees will be earning less than nursing assistants who are currently working on wards.

“But we will be making a significant investment in their training and development in order to enable them to achieve a formal nationally recognised qualification,” she added. “In doing so, the trust took the decision not to pay the lower current national apprenticeship rate.” 

Last month the government announced that it planned to introduce a national compulsory “care certificate” for all HCAs at some point in the future.

The decision follows a recommendation by a review of HCA education and training by the journalist Camilla Cavendish, which was published in July.

Health minister Lord Howe said the government would make a full response to Ms Cavendish’s report at a later point but it had already asked Health Education England to lead work “to develop a certificate of fundamental care”.

 

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Readers' comments (13)

  • michael stone

    'It also hopes the move will help improve staff retention rates and help with their future career progression.'

    Just out of interest - this isn't my main area of interest, and I do not know the answer - what is the 'career progression' pathway for HCAs ?

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  • I guess it depends on the interpretation of career pathway. I see my career continuing to develop despite the fact that I have sat on a band 6 for the last ten years. A cynic will point to cost cutting and getting things done on the cheap, others will focus towards the more altruistic getting the best out of the person. I am far more skilled now than at any point in my career to date which spans thirty years now.

    Also the Diploma guarantees an interview for University for those who want to go on a RN course as well as remove the requirement to do the pre-course HCA placement.

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  • Is this an academic diploma, I wonder? If so, band 2 is a bit of an insult. Plus, if they go on to RN training in a reasonable time scale, then there should be a shortened course for them to follow. If not, it doesn't sound any different to an NVQ, in which case, most who have completed NVQ 3, are on band 3. Or, is it the cheap option to the assistant practitioner? Confused - just a bit?

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  • what it probabally is they have been alicated funds to do a certain training but a lot of hospitals would like to use it in a different way but they wont let them hence
    lots of funds but only be used for a specific thing don't think thre will be many more band 3 I think it will go back to band2, band 4 and so on its a bit maniplitive and depends on the trust band3 is a handy helper?

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  • michael stone

    Thanks everyone, for clearing that up for me: I'm still none the wiser (especially as I thought 'band 6' was a nursing band ?).

    There are issues with this 'required training for HCAs', and it will inevitably (if you can only work as an HCA after getting that required training) be set at 'a very low bar'. But there should be a progession-path for HCAs, and this all looks a bit 'messy' to me.

    I think the fact that HCAs work in many different 'enviroments' makes the issues around 'proof of competence via exams/certificates' pretty tricky, actually.

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  • Why!!! we are all should be working under the same competence if the band we are working at and the job discripion content if staff are not they should be re-trained until they reach the full content and standard the issues you have is people working alone with no r/nurse to supervise the only way round it is just have r/nurses to do the roles in the many different 'enviroments
    that are causing issues of concern

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  • michael stone | 5-Nov-2013 2:40 pm

    Thanks everyone, for clearing that up for me: I'm still none the wiser (especially as I thought 'band 6' was a nursing band ?).



    There are band 6 staff in most disciplines in the NHS. If you are having a joke I've missed it, but if your knowledge of the NHS workforce outside of Nursing is that scant I'll need to weigh your comments accordingly.

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  • Anonymous | 6-Nov-2013 9:11 am

    Why!!! we are all should be working under the same competence if the band we are working at and the job discripion content if staff are not they should be re-trained until they reach the full content and standard the issues you have is people working alone with no r/nurse to supervise the only way round it is just have r/nurses to do the roles in the many different 'enviroments
    that are causing issues of concern


    Is is just me that has trouble following this?

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  • Anonymous | 6-Nov-2013 2:17 pm¨

    that is rather unkind. none of us know everything and I am sure there is something you don't know about other jobs in other fields.

    surely it is better to admit one doesn't know, and ask, and learn something from it?

    or perhaps if one doesn't know something one shouldn't dare to comment here at all judging by the frequency of negative criticism?

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  • Anonymous | 6-Nov-2013 3:06 pm

    I have to agree with your comments, that's how we learn, not pretending we know everything, as that is when practice becomes dangerous.

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  • Anonymous | 6-Nov-2013 11:15 pm

    and

    Anonymous | 6-Nov-2013 3:06 pm

    I suspect it's more a case that people like putting Mike down because it makes them feel big and important.

    Shame.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 6-Nov-2013 2:17 pm

    To be clear about this, I am interested in end-of-life behaviour - I only 'pick up in passing' information about things such as NHS pay bands, and they are not a major interest of mine (they are an irrelevance, for my EoL issues).

    I've just spent an hour making my typed-at-home offline answers to the LCP replacement consultation, fit the online form (the form seems to depart from the PDF consultation document, at the end) - that was after 3 or 4 hours assembling my answers at home.

    The LCP consultation stuff can be found at:

    http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/qual-clin-lead/lac/

    and anyone who wants to contribute to the discussion about what is to repalce the Liverpool Care Pathway, should perhaps use it (I know I've wandered off topic).

    I have neither the interest, nor the time to investigate everything about the NHS - but even so, I think I am allowed to make some comments about things like should all HCPs possess a basic level of competence (yes) and would it be good if the more HCPs learnt, the more their pay and career progressed (yes).

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  • michael stone

    Should have been HCAs in that previous comment, not HCPs - my brain is well on the way out.

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